FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – A decision by Bristol Community College to do away with a traditional pinning ceremony for graduates of the nursing program has been reversed after backlash from the community.
The pinning ceremony marks the end of the nursing program: students dress in historic nursing uniforms and receive a pin marking their graduation.
“It goes all the way back to the times of Florence Nightengale,” said BCC nursing alum Stephanie Meleo. “It’s very, very nostalgic. It’s very emotional.”
The reason for the change, according to BCC, was that having too many different ceremonies at the end of the school year was causing a drop in attendance. As a result, the college decided to eliminate a separate pinning ceremony and allow students the option to be handed their pins during their commencement walk.
“In the past, we have seen that families often found it difficult to attend multiple ceremonies,” an email from BCC administration sent to students read. “Integrating the programs allows families to participate in the celebration of commencement as well as recognition of their student’s achievement.”
After the news that this year’s pinning ceremony would be canceled, current and former students took to social media and an online petition to protest the decision.
BCC reversed course on Friday and, in an email to students, Dean of Health Sciences Lynne Brodeur invited input on designing a new pinning ceremony.
“We will be asking for volunteers from our second-year nursing students to join with faculty and staff to design an inclusive pinning celebration that will honor the nursing profession, incorporate tradition and take some new ideas into account,” she wrote.
There will also be a meeting next week to discuss re-integrating it into graduation.
Alumni and students, however, are concerned that the ceremony may not be the same as it was before as the details haven’t yet been worked out.